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Sweet and sour sauce is a staple Chinese condiment. It’s vibrant-red, clear, gel-like, and glossy. This homemade version is a restaurant-quality sauce that’s incredibly tasty. We make ours without ketchup in just 8 minutes.
Use this recipe as a glaze for your favorite chicken, seafood and pork recipes that call for Chinese sweet and sour sauce. It’s also a delicious glaze for pork chops and holiday ham! Just smear it on, and serve more on the side.
Made with common pantry ingredients, this easy recipe comes together quickly! You’ll be amazed at it’s restaurant-quality taste.
Here’s what you’ll need to assemble this staple Chinese condiment:
- Granulated Sugar: Provides the perfect amount of sweetness.
- Corn Starch: Thickens the mixture and provides a glossy sheen.
- Salt: This seasoning enhances the flavor of the other ingredients.
- Water: Is an important liquid for the sauce.
- Rice Vinegar: Is a staple of Asian cooking. The acidity balances the flavors in this sweet and sour sauce.
- Shaoxing Wine: Adds depth of flavor and complexity for the sauce.
- Soy Sauce: Gives Asian dishes a deep umami flavor.
- Red Food Coloring: Provides the traditional deep red color we come to expect from sweet and sour sauce.
📖 Recipe Steps
This is a simple recipe you’ll want to make again and again! The entire process takes about 8 minutes. Here’s how to make the best Chinese sweet and sour sauce, step by step.
- Add sugar, corn starch and salt to a small pot. Whisk to combine and remove lumps.
- Add water, rice vinegar, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and red food coloring to the pot.
- Whisk until the mixture is smooth.
- Place pot over medium heat. Continuously whisk until mixture comes to a boil. The sauce should be thick, smooth and clear. Remove from heat. If the desired consistency has not yet been reached, continue to stir the mixture in the hot pan after the heat has been turned off. If the thickened sauce is boiled for too long, it will break (lose its ability to emulsify) and become thin! Immediately transfer sweet and sour sauce to a small bowl.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tips
Are you missing an ingredient for this recipe? Before running to the market, check your pantry for some easy ingredient swaps!
- Best Substitute for Granulated Sugar: An equal amount of light brown sugar.
- Best Swaps for Corn Starch: Arrowroot, potato starch or tapioca starch. Do not use flour for this recipe.
- Best Substitutes for Rice Vinegar: White vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
- Best Substutitue for Shaoxing Wine: Pale dry sherry, or cooking sake (Japanese rice wine).
🧑🏼🍳 Recipe FAQs
🥡🥢 More Takeout Recipes
If you love Chinese sweet and sour sauce, you’ll enjoy these Asian-inspired recipes. Print out your favorites or pin them to Pinterest.
- Wonton Soup
- Orange Chicken
- Cream Cheese Wontons
- Chinese Chicken Salad
- Grilled Pork Loin Kabobs
- Mushroom Ramen Bowl
- Sweet Chili Tofu
- P.F. Chang’s Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Rate This Recipe ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Discerning taste testers says this homemade recipe is better than packets of sweet and sour sauce that come with Chinese take-out! If you agree, give this recipe a 5-star rating in the comments below. Then share it with a friend. 📌 Pin it to Pinterest.Print
This Chinese sweet and sour sauce recipe takes only 8 minutes to make! Enjoy this delicious Asian condiment as a dipping sauce or glaze. It’s a family favorite!
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 4 1/2 teaspoons corn starch
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1/2 tablespoon Shaoxing wine
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 3 drops red food coloring
- Add sugar, corn starch and salt to a small pot. Whisk to combine and remove lumps. Add water, rice vinegar, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, and red food coloring to the pot. Whisk until the mixture is smooth.
- Place pot over medium heat. Continuously whisk until mixture comes to a boil. The sauce should be thick, smooth and clear. Remove from heat. If the desired consistency has not yet been reached, continue to stir the mixture in the hot pan after the heat has been turned off. If the thickened sauce is boiled for too long, it will break (lose its ability to emulsify) and become thin!
- Immediately transfer sweet and sour sauce from the hot pot to a small bowl.
How to store sweet and sour sauce: Store it in an airtight jar and refrigerate for up to 1 week. When the sauce is cold the texture will thicken like Jello. To thin it back out again, gently whisk it with a bit of Shaoxing wine, rice vinegar or water in a saucepan over low heat.
- Prep Time: 3 Minutes
- Cook Time: 5 Minutes
- Category: Condiment
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Chinese, Asian
Sweet and Sour Sauce 👉🏻 Join the Convo
Are you craving Chinese take-out and the condiments that come with it? Are you excited to make this homemade recipe? Share your thoughts on this sweet and sour sauce recipe in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.